Digital methods

Program leaders


This program focuses on the development of innovative research approaches, methods and tools that are grounded in and suitable for the study of digital media, from computational analyses of ‘big social data’ to the close qualitative analysis of digital media platforms and practices.

We’re also home to TrISMA, the ARC-funded national infrastructure for social media data capture and analysis, a world-first for ‘big social data’ research in the humanities.

Our distinctive methodological capabilities include:

  • big social media data capture, analysis and visualisation
  • agent-based modelling, issue mapping and controversy analysis
  • critical-qualitative methods for exploring digital media platforms from a variety of sociotechnical and user perspectives, such as the mobile app walkthrough method.

We have led the development of national and international training in digital methods through our program of internal and external workshops, such as the the Digital Methods Summer School, as well as pre-conference workshops on digital methods delivered at the 2015 and 2016 Association of Internet Researchers conferences and the establishment of our centre as a FutureLearn Centre of Excellence with a course in social media analytics.

The program is a source of scholarly contributions in its own right, helping to drive substantive research activity on methodological and political questions arising from the burgeoning cultural economy of digital media data. We research and publish in the area of critical data and platform studies, exploring the political and pragmatic challenges of proprietary digital media platforms for public research, including issues such as data ethics and data philanthropy.

Student projects

Our doctoral researchers benefit from access to advanced capabilities and training programs, and in turn contribute to methodological development through their own projects, which include:

  • applying issue mapping to the politics of race and whiteness in Australia
  • addressing the challenges of internationalising Twitter-centric digital methods to the Chinese context via a study of knowledge controversies on Weibo
  • connecting network science methods and metrics with theoretical frameworks from media and communication studies to investigate the dynamics of public communication online.